Arkansas will open play in the SEC Tournament tonight at 6:30 against Vanderbilt at the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tenn.
Mike Anderson hopes to help Arkansas win its first SEC Tournament game since 2008.
Arkansas (19-12) and Vanderbilt (14-16) have split two games thus far this season. Each won big on their own homecourt. This game though played in Nashville will be on a neutral court.
The Razorbacks have struggled in recent SEC Tournaments. Arkansas has lost its tournament opener four straight years. Arkansas Coach Mike Anderson hopes to avoid making that five in a row. The good news for Arkansas is the last time they won an opening game in the SEC Tournament it was against Vandy in 2008.
The tournament got underway on Wednesday with a pair of games. Texas A&M eliminated Auburn 71-62 while Mississippi State upset South Carolina 70-59. Both A&M and Mississippi State will play again today.
In addition to the obvious advancing and trying to win the tournament, Arkansas also could use a win tonight to help prepare them for the NIT if they are selected. That of course is assuming the Razorbacks don't get on a roll and win the SEC Tournament. No player on this Arkansas has ever experienced a win in a post-season tournament.
The winner of tonight's game will face Kentucky at 6:30 on Friday night. If Arkansas were to win its first two games, it seems likely they would then play the winner of the Missouri-Ole Miss game.
Dave Van Horn got his hitters some confidence in a two-game sweep of Alabama A&M. Arkansas blasted the visitors 20-2 and 13-0. Arkansas will need that confidence on Friday night when they open SEC play and face Ole Miss ace Bobby Wahl (4-0, 1.99).
Van Horn will counter with true freshman Trey Killian (2-1, 0.86). Killian was nearly perfect in seven innings last Saturday against San Diego State. Killian only allowed two runners, one on a walk and one on an error) before giving way to the relievers despite having a no-hitter going.
Van Horn wisely has his pitchers on strict pitch counts and apologized to Killian for pulling him, but Killian actually agreed with the decision and understood the reasoning.
Outfielder Tyler Spoon has had hits in 17 of Arkansas' 18 games. Spoon, Joe Serrano and Brian Anderson have been very hot at the plate this season. Matt Vinson is also enjoying a very good year at the plate.
In the Ole Miss series, Van Horn will start Randall Fant on Saturday and Ryne Stanek on Sunday. Stanek was originally going to be Arkansas' Friday night starter, but he has struggled with command of his pitches this season.
Arkansas (13-5) and Ole Miss (17-1) will play at 6:35 on Friday, 2:05 on Saturday and 1:05 on Sunday.
Arkansas' Tom Collen and his Razorbacks hope to strengthen their bid for an invitation to the WNIT and play their final regular season game tonight in Bud Walton Arena.
Arkansas (18-12) will take on SIU-Edwardsville (16-14) at 7. Arkansas lost in the first round of the SEC Tournament to Florida. This will be the third year in a row for Arkansas to play this game. The game is scheduled so the team can play someone and stay sharp in case they get invited to a tournament.
Collen starts two seniors, Sarah Watkins and Quistelle Williams, a junior, Keira Peak, sophomore Calli Berna, and freshman Dominique Wilson.
Arkansas has bid to host WNIT games all the way through the tournament. The field will be announced on Monday.
More....... Reporters will get a chance to meet with Coach Bret Bielema on Friday morning to discuss the first three practices.
In addition, the departed Razorbacks from this past season will get a chance to showcase their skills for several NFL scouts as Arkansas conducts its Pro Day Friday afternoon beginning at 1.
Several Razorbacks are hoping to impress the scouts enough to land somewhere in the draft. Among the hopefuls are quarterback Tyler Wilson, running backs Knile Davis, Dennis Johnson and Ronnie Wingo, wide receiver Cobi Hamilton, offensive guard Alvin Bailey, linebacker Alonzo Highsmith and cornerback Darius Winston.